Two Rocky Point brothers reflect on their lacrosse careers after championship

Two Rocky Point brothers reflect on their lacrosse careers after championship

Photo from the Reh family

Rocky Point native Troy Reh, who is a member of the “Chaos” that recently won the Premier Lacrosse League (PLL) Championship, said it was a “great experience.”

“It’s always awesome to play with my brother on the high school and college level of competition,” he said. “Not everyone has this opportunity, and this was extremely special for our family.”

Lacrosse runs deep within this local family that has seen generations of Reh’s dominate high school, college and professional competition. Since the fifth grade, Troy, and his twin brother Justin, have strengthened their family name in lacrosse by displaying a unique expertise in lacrosse. The love of this game began under the guidance of their father and uncles, and through the early coaching that they received in the junior Rocky Point Police Athletic Teams league.  

Photo from the Reh family

For many years, Troy was smaller in physical stature, and he did not fully grow until his first year in college. Justin recalled that he had a limited understanding of the game as a kid who would usually follow the ball on the field. He eventually demonstrated stick handling skills and coordination at an early age by catching lefty and throwing righty. 

The brothers paid their dues in playing time, as Justin did not make the varsity until his sophomore year and Troy started as a senior. Being on the varsity at an earlier age, Justin had moments of excellence and challenges. During his sophomore year, he played well against tough teams like Shoreham Wading River and Comsewogue, and he scored 50 points. 

As Justin began to make a name for himself through his school and travel lacrosse teams, in the last moments of a practice during his junior season within the old “pit” field, he broke his foot. It was a difficult injury, as Justin looked forward to playing Mount Sinai, where his father is the athletic director, and he wanted to play against the difficult competition of this local team. 

With treating a “Jones Fracture” for several months, Justin was unable to have any type of mobility, and was away from a game that he loved. Every day, this injured player still worked on his skills through the aid of a “pitch-back.” He sat in a chair and used both hands to throw the ball over a hundred times righty and lefty.  

The Class of 2014 were an extremely close group of student-athletes that all began playing lacrosse at the same time. They watched the 2008 Rocky Point Eagles win the state championship and since they were in middle school, the Reh’s, along with their friends Pat Dallon, Brendan McGovern, Chris Johnson, Jake Clark and Chris McGreevy, all were confident that they would have a similar success in lacrosse once they became seniors.  

And this estimation was fulfilled in 2014, after an early loss to Babylon, the team was reminded by the Reh boys that they always had to play hard, and Babylon was a “wake up call” that motivated this team to win the county title.

Scott Reh was an assistant coach during his son’s senior year and identified their leadership qualities as “being great teammates, that always put the needs of their team first.”

In the play-offs against Miller Place, Justin broke his ribs, but kept playing to guide the team towards victory. Against Lynbrook, Rocky Point did not play its finest game and while they were still battered from Miller Place, they lost the Long Island Championship 10-9. 

Former Rocky Point goalie Patrick Dallon vividly recalled that the Reh brothers always “made you feel more confident about the outcome of a game, and as a goalie, that’s all you could ask for. They had a way of taking a lot of pressure off other players because of what they were capable of doing on the field.  I miss being on the same team as them, these were some of the best memories that I have.”  

Another buddy, who played with the Reh’s for many years was Brendan McGovern. He played many games with these brothers and observed that they had the “ability to always be one step ahead of everyone else, and they understood exactly where to be on the field.”

The Reh boys followed up their family’s tradition of being dominant players under the guidance of Coach Michael P. Bowler. Justin saw Bowler as one of the “greatest people that he had ever known” and that this long-time coach always stressed the need for his players to be “respectful, carry yourself in a positive manner and to be productive citizens.”   

Photo from the Reh family

Helene Bowler recalled the immense affection of her late husband towards Justin, Troy, their father Scott, and his two brothers, that were all dominant athletes. She remembered the “unique opportunity and privilege” that her late husband had in coaching Troy and Justin, and having his former player in Scott, be next to him as an assistant coach during this successful season.  

“Justin was hurt during the play-offs, that he performed at a high level to help this team win and that Troy was an excellent motivator to get the boys moving in the right direction,” she said. “And most importantly, they always carried themselves in a good manner, were excellent team first players, and they have developed into outstanding young men.”

After graduating from Rocky Point High School in 2014, the brothers were recruited and signed by the University of Albany. This was an ideal fit, as they gained a quality education, competed on a Division I team, and were close enough for their parents and family members to attend Albany lacrosse games.  

Starting at Albany, Justin had poor luck, as he was sick with mono, and he re-aggravated his foot injury.  Troy saw limited time in fall and spring lacrosse, but he realized that Albany had been a good fit for him and Justin. 

Like that of Bowler’s tutelage, who was a father figure to his teams over the last several decades, the same type of support was presented to these boys at Albany. It was observed that their college coach Scott Marr team ran his team like a family, as they were expected to put in their work on the field, but they had a great deal of fun on this team.  

As a sophomore, Troy cracked the starting line-up as a long stick mid-fielder and was a team leader until his final senior season. Justin had a tremendous season as a junior, where he was one of the highest scorers in the nation. 

He gained over 50% of his shots on net as goals, where he garnered all division and conference award for his stellar play and was also honored as an academic All-American. 

While they made the play-offs during their junior season, the Reh boys had a similar final year like that at Rocky Point. They were surrounded by great players that worked well together and had set their goals to being one of the finest teams in the entire nation. 

Albany made it to the semi-finals and lost in the Final Four to the eventual National Champions in Yale at Gillette Stadium in Massachusetts. Both Troy and Justin describe this game as if it was yesterday, and they are immensely proud of their teammates in making it only steps away from gaining a championship.  

Whereas they came up a bit short, during the playing tenure of the Reh’s, this university won three American East titles and always played well against rivals like that of Hartford, Vermont and Stony Brook University. Through their sheer determination to excel, the Reh’s helped Albany reach its highest lacrosse achievements that this college ever earned.

For a once smaller player in physical stature, Troy grew into an outstanding athlete that was three time all conference player, recognized as a 3rd team All-American, and was an Academic All-American.  Staying consistent with their ability to perform at different athletic levels of play, both boys would again be united, as they were both drafted by the New York Lizards.  

Again, they played with some of the finest talent in the nation and had games against opponents in Dallas, Baltimore, Atlanta, Boston and Denver. Justin believed that it was an honor to learn from his former professional teammate in Rob Pannell who was a wealth of lacrosse information and expertise.  This athlete was one of the most respected players in nation on the college level at Cornell and for the Lizards.  

Like that of high school and college, Troy marveled at the chance that him and Justin had to play for the Lizards and play on the same fields that they visited as kids.  

As a four-year veteran of playing professional lacrosse, Troy has the unique insight in helping the creator Paul Rabil of the Premier Lacrosse League expand this sport.  

According to Troy, the PLL has eight teams, where players drive or fly to various cities to attend meetings, practices, and games. With a championship under his belt, Troy has also been a key figure in helping the founder of this league grow this sport across America. Troy has become an early pioneer to expand this league through his ability to run camps, organizing sales and emails to garner wide-scale interest. When they are not playing professionally or working their own jobs, the Reh boys can be seen within the fields of Rocky Point High School giving lessons, breaking down this sport and always flashing a big smile as they mentor our local players.

Since they picked up a stick in the fifth grade, these local North Shore athletes have surely made a name for themselves within lacrosse. Through drive, determination, and making it through adversity, the Reh boys are not only true ambassadors to this game, but they are genuine role models to our youth.  

While they have gained a tremendous amount of success over the years, these young men always were driven to succeed and put in all of the work through a team first mentality. Rocky Point Lacrosse Coach Tom Walsh said “our current players look up to their success and visualize the possibilities of what is out there to achieve within the sport of lacrosse through hard work and dedication.”

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